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The Designated Medication Manager (DMM) concept was developed to encourage friends and family members to assist individuals taking any medication or supplement. The patient chooses a DMM before medication use begins, to help watch out for possible side effects, mistakes, misuse, abuse or dependency. These may be more common when someone is groggy from surgery, in pain or just overwhelmed by the complexities of managing their own medical condition.

The Problem:

Preventable medication errors impact more than seven million patients and cost almost $21 billion annually.[i]

According to results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated two million Americans misused prescription pain relievers for the first time within the previous year, which averages to approximately 5,480 incidents per day. Additionally, more than one million misused prescription stimulants, 1.5 million misused tranquilizers, and 271,000 misused sedatives for the first time.[ii]

Every minute of every day, three Americans call a poison control center because they've made a major mistake with their medication. [iii]


Before getting a new medication or prescription, ask a trusted friend or family member to help by being your DMM. A DMM role can be in addition to or included in being a support person or advocate.  The following information is for the patient and DMM to review together:

  • Follow the directions printed on the medication’s label and as explained by the physician and/or pharmacist. Make sure all the information is the same.  The DMM should be sure the patient can repeat this in their own words.

  • Be aware of potential interactions with other medications, herbs, food or alcohol through research and asking questions. The DMM should be prepared to watch for any of these reactions.

  • Never stop or change the dosage without discussing this with your clinician.

  • Never use another person’s medication and never share yours with someone else.

  • Know how to store all medications safely.

  • Find out if your “pain medication” could be addictive or whether could you become dependent.

  • Do not leave a hospital or dentist’s office with a prescription following any procedure without having someone you chose with you as your DMM, especially if you are still groggy and may not clearly understand the instructions being given about your medication.

View and Print The DMM Checklist Here

To learn more about the DMM or patient safety, contact Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy at 516.579.4711




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